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To Locavores’ Dismay, a Humane Meat Processor is Put Out to Pasture

In recent years, there has been a local meat renaissance going on in Wisconsin. At the center of the movement was a business called Black Earth Meats. The operation, owned by Bartlett Durand, or the Zen Butcher, included a retail space, a buyers club and a community-supported agriculture (CSA) subscription service, as well as a U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected slaughterhouse. Read more

Farmstead Meatsmith: Mobile Butchery in Washington State

When Brandon Sheard brings his knife across the throat of a sheep, his movements are swift and precise.  The sheep, lying calmly on her side in the pasture on which she has lived her whole life, gently closes her eyes.  Brandon rests his hand on her throat and offers a prayer of gratitude to affirm the sacrifice of her life.

Brandon and his wife Lauren are the proprietors of Farmstead Meatsmith, a small business on Vashon Island, WA, that provides the services of slaughter, butchery, and charcuterie to small farmers in the Puget Sound region, as well as classes in slaughter and butchery. Read more

My New Year’s Resolution

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals…. They are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.

– Henry Beston, The Outermost House, 1928

It can be easy to forget that food comes from somewhere. Those of us who eat animals tend to like it that way. For that reason, for most of my life, I’ve done my hunting in the deli case, training my shopping cart on plastic-wrapped livestock at rest in a Styrofoam pasture. Read more

Slaughterhouse Diary

I am a city girl born and bred, with city needs and city habits. My junior year of college, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I took a course called “Religion and Ecology,” in which we read everything from the Jewish laws of kashruth to Buddhist texts; Heidegger’s “Technology;” to “The Monkey-Wrench Gang.” At the end of the course I vowed to spend time on a farm, to look a chicken in the eye as it died, to bear witness to the slaughter of a cow, something that would earn me the right to eat one of these sentient beings. Read more